With continued growing tension between Vince McMahon and Triple H, how do you see it ending? Do you think the brass is worried about the rift?
When I first heard things between Vince McMahon and Triple H had begun to get noticeably more contentious, I thought it would only be a matter of time before cooler heads prevailed and they got back on the same page. However, the issues seem to have only gotten worse, reaching their boiling point at WWE's live event in New York City on July 12, 2014. It was there that Vince and Hunter got into an argument loud enough for others to hear, including producers that were working the show. One issue they had going into that show was Triple H and Stephanie were legitimately on vacation but Vince put his foot down that Triple H had to be in attendance, causing them to end their vacation early. Now, the accusations are that Vince has deliberately made cuts to WWE NXT -- considered to be Triple H's baby -- just in spite of him. As we reported here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Hunter has been vehemently opposed to budget cuts in regards to NXT but the budget has been cut to the point where there isn't much left to cut. I'm not sure how others feel about the rift but it's never a good thing when the two men at the top of the company are at odds.
Assuming that Brock Lesnar will go over John Cena at SummerSlam and that Vince wants Brock vs. The Rock at Wrestlemania, does that mean Brock will lose the title before Wrestlemania or will we have two part timers in a row holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?
I have given pause to anyone assuming it's a given that Brock Lesnar goes over John Cena to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam. Yes, I believe that's how the match should be booked and how it will probably be booked but we need to wait until after SummerSlam before we look forward. If Brock wins the title at SummerSlam, we can analyze how to book a Brock Lesnar title reign then. Paul Heyman had some interesting comments for those criticizing a possible Lesnar title reign at this link. In that interview, he said the WWE title is defended too often.
Is Rey Mysterio injured or is WWE not using him?
Rey Mysterio and WWE were originally renegotiating a contract extension and there was legitimate concern that he might leave. However, WWE added injury time to his existing contract and have continued to pay him his downside. According to people close to Mysterio, he wants out but the company isn't letting him out. This is why Konnan is using the hashtag #FreeRey in his Tweets against WWE for their handling of Alberto Del Rio.
Do you have any insight as to why WWE would have Dean Ambrose choose a lumberjack match for his stipulation against Seth Rollins at SummerSlam? It lacks logic as I would've thought he'd chose a match for the MITB contract, perhaps even a ladder match for the contract.
As of last Monday, WWE hadn't decided on the stipulation for Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins at SummerSlam and at last Tuesday's Smackdown taping, the lumberjack match stipulation was announced. I agree that not only does it lack logic but it's underwhelming. It's my assumption that WWE booked it as a way to get other workers on the pay-per-view card but I agree - they could do better.
Would you be OK if the finish of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at SummerSlam saw Paul Heyman turn on Brock Lesnar and help John Cena, leading to a long-awaited heel turn?
I do not believe there are any plans to turn John Cena heel - especially in a bout with Brock Lesnar. I do not feel this scenario is plausible or beneficial. While a large segment of WWE's audience wants character progression from Cena, it can't be at the price of Brock Lesnar. When he was booked over The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX, a lot was invested in his future. It's essential that WWE keep Lesnar over as a dominant heel, ultimately leading to him transferring the rub he was given back in April.
What were your thoughts on seeing Scott Hall on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw?
I thought Scott Hall looked great on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. On Twitter, I noted how it was Hulk Hogan that made me a wrestling fan but Scott Hall and Kevin Nash that kept me one. There are many ups and downs for a recovering addict but Monday was a good day for this business. The closing segment of this week's Raw was nostalgic but probably would have been better suited on an episode other than the go-home to SummerSlam. The problem is there were so many moving parts, it was hard to really hone in on Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena.
We explained on Tuesday how WWE is using Hogan in conjunction with the SummerSlam pay-per-view to encourage people to subscribe to the WWE Network. My other critique to the closing segment would have been to allow either Hogan or Flair to bump for Brock, as both of them pitched. That would have been a major statement from Lesnar heading into his title match against John Cena.
John Cena has earned 15 championship reigns -- a great feat -- but it was all with WWE. Ric Flair of course has 16 with various promotions. Should Cena be held in the same regard with Flair due to Flair earning his titles everywhere and not in one place.
Ric Flair's label as a 16-time world champion is the way WWE recognizes it but Flair considers himself to be a 21-time world champion. Regardless, Flair is one of the greatest of all time and history will be much kinder to John Cena. Cena gets a lot of heat -- just like Hulk Hogan got a lot of heat in his prime. However, as we've seen since Hogan's return to WWE, he's once again over like rover and beloved by marks and smarks alike. I believe this is how Cena will be viewed in 20 years and the fact he'll surpass Flair's benchmark of WWE-recognized world title reigns will only add to that.
It seems pretty clear to me that, from the announcers to the wrestlers, to even signs shown in the audience, that the company is really over-hyping the "$9.99" price of the WWE Network. Do you feel that the WWE is going into panic mode over the lack of subscribers versus the numbers they had projected up to this point?
WWE has initiated a marketing campaign around the $9.99 WWE Network price tag. Yes, they are desperate for subscribers and that's evident by this plan. The lack of Network growth has stalled plans of a proposed price increase and WWE even lowered their new monthly no commitment plan from $19.99 to $12.99. I can tell you $19.99/month is where they want to be but they're not going to go there at this time as they continue to "build" the Network's base.
Why is WWE having trouble with money when they just signed a new deal with NBCUniversal?
The financial cutbacks in WWE are in response to the company's new WWE Network-driven business model. WWE is essentially "punting" their pay-per-view revenue, which accounted for 15-17% of their net revenue from 2010-2012. They're now focused on attracting new subscribers in order to turn a profit. Significant resources have already been invested into making the WWE Network a reality. The company said after launch they needed 1 million domestic subscribers to "break even" with the Network. The feeling was they should get there fairly easily but those subscribers have proved harder to attract than first thought. As of June 30, 2014 the WWE Network had 700,000 domestic subscribers. While on the surface this doesn't seem like a bad number, it proved stagnant, reflecting a net addition of only 33,000 subscribers from the day after Wrestlemania 30. WWE opened up the Network internationally earlier this week in hopes it helps them reach their targets faster. As for the deal with NBCUniversal, the company had been promising investors they would double or triple their domestic TV rights fees. Vince McMahon even told one person they could put him in a hammerlock if the company didn't double their domestic TV rights fees. While WWE ended up increasing their TV revenue, the increase was considered moderate and well below what the company had promised investors. Vince later admitted the deal was disappointing. So as WWE adapts to this new model, they're making cuts wherever possible in order to make it profitable as soon as they can.
What are your thoughts on Stephanie McMahon's mic work and overall work as a heel? I think she's been great on TV and is one of the best the company has right now.
I believe the entire McMahon family -- not just Stephanie -- has a gift on the mic. All of them -- Vince, Linda, Stephanie and Shane -- know how to captivate an audience and make their appearances come off as realistic and entertaining. My biggest problem with The Authority since its inception has been an overwhelming amount of power with little to no counter attack. That has changed in Stephanie's program with Brie Bella with Stephanie "being arrested," getting slapped and various verbal beat downs. The latest twist of Daniel Bryan "having an affair," is what WWE is using to amp up interest into the match at Sunday's SummerSlam pay-per-view. I don't know if we can expect a good wrestling match but Stephanie has been training hard and we should get a conclusion to one of the more compelling programs of the summer.
I am not against the Daniel Bryan adultery story. I am even glad to see WWE trying to keep him alive. But why then did they "erase him" from the Wrestlemania 30 broadcast? It seems like one day they want nothing to do with Bryan due to his health condition and the uncertainty that brings, and the next day they want to bring him back to keep him in the Universe's fresh memory. Doesn't it seem odd?
WWE wanted to add a strong go-home element to Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon so they chose to go the "Daniel Bryan is an adulterer" route. Where they go from here remains to be seen but that's why it was done. The angle was not to necessarily put the focus back on Daniel Bryan as he is still without a return date and is "out indefinitely." It was a side element to a program treated as a main event type encounter at SummerSlam. The removal of Daniel Bryan from the one-hour Wrestlemania 30 TV special had to do with the company not wanting to promote something they couldn't deliver. I do not believe it had do with an anti-Bryan agenda as much as it had to do with the fact Bryan is currently out due to injury.
I agree that Hulk Hogan should not be in a major competitive role. However, I would like to see one last match with John Cena. I see Cena as the Hogan of this era. I would even be satisfied with an exhibition match where Cena would defend the title at a PPV against some other superstar. The match could be a no disqualification match. That could set up a match for Cena vs. Hulk earlier in the night where its a "open shoot" and Cena clearly allows Hulk to win the title just to retire immediately after the match and Cena and whoever can win it in the main event. If anyone in my opinion deserves to retire as champion it's Hulk. Your thoughts?
No offense but that sounds horrible. It would demean the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, John Cena and do nothing for anyone. Hulk Hogan is still the most recognizable name in pro wrestling and another "title reign," isn't going to do anything to help or hurt that. Hogan is retired and should be used like other retired wrestlers are used. Sporadic appearances to help promote the WWE Network are a great way to use Hogan. As we saw with the viewership data from this week's Raw, tactful use of Hogan is a good thing. Hogan was overexposed in TNA and it did nothing for Hogan or for TNA. I am completely against Hogan wrestling again because I do not believe he is healthy enough at 61 to carry a match that anyone wants to see.
I am Canadian and disappointed with the deal WWE has made with Rogers. I would like to order the WWE Network just like everyone else. After Raw two weeks ago, I take it you were not impressed with WWE's shameless sales pitch of $9.99. I agreed at the time. Now If find myself enjoying it. It reminds me of DX selling there merchandise. Has your opinion changed as well?
I want to first note the WWE Network is different in Canada. Not only is it a Pay-TV channel on Rogers but initial reports indicate the on demand library is not available and it's $11.99/month. As for the $9.99/month mentions, I still have multiple issues with them. A little bit of humor is never a bad thing and it's important to not be too harsh on something meant to be funny. However, WWE struggles with moderation. A couple of mentions to be used as comedy is fine but I feel the company continues to overdo them. Additionally, the WWE Network isn't technically $9.99. It is but with a 6 month commitment. If you're in the US and you just want to buy for one month, it's $12.99/month. In Canada, it's different. Let's not also forget that a lot of people still don't understand the WWE Network is an over the top service available on Apps and online. Unless of course you're in Canada, where it is available on cable but only Rogers cable systems. It's all very confusing and I believe this is part of the reason why WWE has struggled to gain subscribers.
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